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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quietness Reigns

"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."
~ Henry David Thoreau ~
Under my feet, my piece of heaven has thistles galore and I spend a lot of time chopping those thistles. I've been told thistles are a bi-annual crop...and I use the word  "crop" loosely...and need to be chopped before their flower goes to seed. I've also read they are deep rooted perennials and I can attest to the deep rooted part! This particular pasture stretches from behind me to the road ahead of me, marked by the tree in the right middle distance and where five of the horses and all the sheep range. 
I'm not sure if this is Canadian thistle or another variety but it's invasive. Dave used chemicals to control kill it and other weeds but I use labor. 
I'm not sure if what I'm using is called a stirrup, hula or collinear hoe or none of those. Yeah, it would help if I had a better photo but the hoe is down at the barn and I'm up at the house and too tired to make a special trip. I was weed chopping for a couple of three hours this morning and I'm plain tuckered out. It is very similar to a stirrup hoe and I can swing left or right which is handy; it means I can get 'em coming and going or until my strength and energy give out. I even checked Lehman's and couldn't find it there so if any of you are that interested, next time I go to the barn, I'll take a better photo and post it. If you're unfamiliar with Lehman's, check out the link. This Amish owned store has been in business since 1955 and offers a very wide variety of non-electric goods for both home and farm. Located in northeastern Ohio they are a mecca to folks who want to live off-grid and to those who simply want a tool they remember Grandpa or Grandma using. I've never visited the store but it's on my bucket list -smile-.
~ Thistle Cove Farm homestead ~
When I stop to take a rest break, it's so very quiet; the quietest I've heard in a long, long time. No cattle, horses, sheep, birds or running farm equipment could be heard. Every so often a vehicle would drive by but quietness reigns today. The dogs pant and I breath heavily, crickets chirp and a breeze is steady but other than that, it's as if Earth and all God's creation is gathering strength, preparing for Autumn's chill which, in turn, brings the cold, deep, welcome sleep of Winter. 
I'm in the middle of the pasture, taking a break from chopping thistles. I've been at it for a few hours and, hopefully, will rid this pasture of thistles before I stop; but, if not, that's okay too. Sweat pours off me, my skin is feeling the sun's rays and there'll be no yoga or Zumba for me today. I watch as buzzards soar overhead, wondering if they are flying wind currents or waiting for something to die.
Dave always cautioned me to take excellent care of my most important and expensive piece of farm equipment.
He'd make sure I had food, water, a hat and would call to me to stop every hour or so and take a breather. Memories, good memories, but I still had a good cry with nothing between me and God save my broken heart. God took my provider and protector, the only one ever between God and I was Dave. Is that why Dave died when he did? Was I leaning too heavily on Dave and not enough on God? I didn't think so but only God knows and He's not saying.
Now I lean totally and heavily upon God; am dependent on Him for protection and provision. Daily, my requests are pretty much the same...Please, Lord, give me wisdom, discernment and protect me and the animals and farm while providing for our needs. It's a daily prayer because it's a daily walk.
In good weather I trudge the pastures, fixing fence, chopping thistles, seeing to the needs of the animals and farm. Daily I do something that will prepare us for Autumn and the deep sleep of Winter.
I tried writing goals for everything but settled on goals for a few main things. The rest is on a to-do list and, again daily, I try to whittle it down. Some days more is added than is whittled and sometimes that's discouraging.
Please, Lord, increase my faith.
The house is a wreck but when weather is good, outdoor chores need to be done. Dave and I met after we'd established households so we each had more than two decades of furniture and goods. Then, his mother moved in with us and she had fifty years of the same. Now is the season of life to decide what to keep, what to give away, what to sell.
Used to be, whenever I'd start work on the house, Dave would say, "Oh, come talk with me." Very rarely did I say, "no" and never regretted saying "yes". Now, I've all the time coming to me to deal with household goods. 
The Canada geese are back, on their way somewhere from somewhere else. Their cries rush me to the door, camera in hand as I stand sentinel and wave to them. They always tug at my heart and today, for whatever reasons, is a day for tears.
Blessings ~ strength to do the work God sets before me ~ Canada Geese ~ hoes ~ work ~ my piece of heaven on earth ~ 


  1. Hello Sandra:
    Of course it is important to keep going and nothing, as we all know so well, is achieved by wishing things done. The thistles will not go of their own accord nor will the million and other things associated with running the farm disappear without your endeavours. And we do so appreciate that if you do not attend to these things, then simply trouble is being nicely stored up.

    But, dearest Sandra, you should heed Dave's words and, just for once, consider yourself. For if you work yourself into the ground, become unfit, ill even, then there will be an even worse problem.

    Maybe, just maybe, enough is enough. Perhaps the time is drawing close when you should seriously consider your future and that of the farm. We do urge you to do this and feel that, having had the privilege of knowing you for those precious hours in Budapest, we can say these things without giving offence. Whatever, now is what is important, and however your future works out, with or without Thistle Cove Farm, you are letting no-one down, least of all Dave or God.

    We wish we could help. We wish we could be with you to dry your tears. We wish we could act as a sounding board. But be assured you are constantly in our thoughts and prayers and we trust that in due course you will see clearly the way ahead. And, of course, this comes with our love.

  2. Yes ma'am - there is sufficient to do for the day. we find our blessing in doing what productive work is at hand -
    "We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunders of God's power . . and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us. If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him."

  3. This is beauty in words. You slide in and out of metaphor like a good blade through honest earth. Bravery itself.

  4. Such sweetness in this melancholy post. Your surroundings are so beautiful and peaceful. Your words and photos combine into precious meditation.

  5. Your post brought tears to my eyes.

  6. Spiritual landscape, your Tistle Cove Cottage!

    Please, Lord, give me wisdom, discernment and protect me and the animals and farm while providing for our needs. - This prayer is wonderful and similar of my dayly prayer. We have a responsibility for our animals and house and farm - to pray for them is the first thing.

    Please, Lord, increase my faith.- O, yes, Thistle, only He can make us faithful in the midst of all our troubles. But He knows, what troubles are, being the most suffering Lover ...

  7. What a GORGEOUS spot you have there Sandra! How wonderful quietness is!! dreadful thistles can be, I am sure...but, they are somewhat pretty, don't you think? :)

    Perhaps the Canadian Geese that fly over your farm end up right down the road from us...what an interesting thought.

    Blessings to you!

  8. I have so enjoyed both your blogs as I've visited today.
    You truly write from the heart and it's a pleasure to read your thoughts.
    I know Lehman's! Hubby and I stumbled across it a few years ago on a visit to Amish country. It's like stepping back in time.
    I love the weather right now and would much rather be out on my front porch than doing anything inside.
    You're Dave was right - take care of you. I fully believe there are days for tears. I just hope there aren't too many.

  9. So touching and beautifully expressed.

  10. Reading your words brings back memories of my journey, loss, grief. The energy you have amazes me . . . Keep on Sandra, keep on . . . and be well.

  11. " It's a daily prayer because it's a daily walk."

    Wise words...for every season and each circumstance...

    The picture of the geese against that beautiful backdrop is stunning...and your words touched me to the core....

  12. I know this was a difficult day to be alone, but my word, dear friend, this is lovely writing. I could pick out for you the sentences and phrases that ring with beauty and perfect words/images. Thank you. May God hold you close to His heart. Your farm is beautiful; your heart is beautiful.

  13. You are so very true, Sandra. I can tell you know how much the Lord loves you because you are the very best kind of risk taker.

  14. Today, your post reminds me of Ecclesiastes... a time to rest, a time to work, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time for everything under the sun. But the best part is in Psalm 31:15 "my times are in His hands." All of those times, the sad and the glad, the hurts and the joys; praise God, he holds them --and you and me-- in his hands. Your tears are precious to Him. Rest well, dear friend.

  15. The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
    the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
    the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.

  16. Nice pictures you show.
    Wish you a good weekend :)
    Hanne Bente

  17. Beautiful post...I am always melancholy this time of year...

  18. How lovely your homestead is...and as always your writing is so beautiful that I feel like I am there. I'm glad you take time from your work to feed your soul with all that surrounds you...

  19. Anonymous6:31 PM EDT

    Hi Sandra, I'm not sure I've ever seen a view of your actual house. Such a beautiful place but I know it is an overwhelming responsibility. I know as you work and walk around you are reminded often of conversations and sweet times shared with Dave.
    Mama passed at the end of Sept. and I think of her more during Autumn. The sights/sounds of cooler weather remind me of her.
    It must be so very difficult to lose a spouse. Praying that God will comfort, lead and protect you daily. With love, Mildred

  20. Sandra-
    Your farm is so beautiful. I know it is such a lot of work--- and you can tell I'm not a farmer because I think those thistles are beautiful-- love the color--- love your amazing photos.
    God is good-- he is watching over you. Dave is still with you-- I know he stirs your soul in so many ways every day.


  21. Just gorgeous, Sandra. My hubby is the thistle chopper in the family -- my back won't tolerate it any longer.

  22. We have that invasive prickly thistle too.. ugh!

    Beautiful homestead you have there...

  23. Thinking of you today, my friend. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to carry on without the love of your life at your side, though I'm sure you feel his presence. I would never believe God took him as a reprimand for you. Rather, God is there to give you comfort and peace. You are in my prayers today.

  24. Sandra,
    You never know what a new Season will bring. Unknowingly to us, God prepares us for it. I have complete faith that if God brings it to us, (Whatever it may be), he will see us through it.

    So many times, I have said, "no,no,oh no, I couldn't do that" and God has said, "yes you can", proving me wrong every time.

    Each time I learn to lean upon him more and to need him more because it's in those Seasons that I realize that I have no control and he knows so much more than me.

    Hang in there, each day has already been planned for you. I am learning that God won't put more on me than I can handle and if somehow he "mis-calculated" my abilities (ha!), he will carry me!

    You are blessed to recognize your heaven on earth, some people walk past it everyday and never notice.

    Have a Blesses week!

  25. You have a beautiful way with words. This is a very special post and I have enjoyed reading it. Your photos are lovely as well.
    Kindly, Lorraine

  26. May the Lord hear your prayer and may you keep on doing your part to take good care of yourself and listen step by step for that guidance we all need to walk day by day.

  27. this was a beautiful and heart-filled post. what a beautiful place you have, and i am sorry for your loss. i know you must be sorting through a lot of stuff - physically and emotionally. the hoeing work is good for that. :)

    thank you for stopping by today. bless you.

  28. Sandra, The Lord is watching and looking after you. Just keep Dave's words to pace yourself
    when you are working . I too have days for the yard and let the house wait. It's not going anywhere. As you age, it's less
    and less you can do. Stay strong
    and here's a BIG hug.


  29. I do so understand how hard work and the fatigue it causes helps a person get though the tough days of grieving. I did that myself until I realized I was just compounding health issues I already had and making them worse.

    I must caution you to take care of yourself. Being found unconscious in your field of thistles (or worst yet not found in time) is not something you might expect to happen but it easily could if all the conditions were right and your luck was not good one day.

  30. Is your header picture of your actual view? If so, you truly have a piece of heaven on earth! Why do you have to get rid of the thistles? They are such lovely wildflowers, in my mind, not the stock eat them and become sick? Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to your blog this evening! I love the spiritual references. Thanks for coming by and visiting mine, as well.

  31. What a beautiful and heartfelt post. Tears flowing for your loss. I pray strength, comfort and peace for you. God bless you!


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